The classic drink of the summer, this pink lemonade is the perfect way to cool off on a hot afternoon. Learn how to make pink lemonade with 4 ingredients and a few easy steps.
“What actually makes pink lemonade pink?” must be one of life’s endlessly puzzling questions. Like “Why is the sky blue?” or “Why is the grass green?”. Though the answer for homemade pink lemonade recipes is a lot less complicated (and less scientific), it doesn’t diminish the wonder of watching some simple ingredients get transformed from a bright yellow to a glittering red-pink juice.
If you’ve ever wondered how to make this lemonade for yourself, let my recipe demystify the process with four simple ingredients and an easy method. Plus, it’s got so many uses, from a sweet treat on a sunny afternoon to the base for a range of delicious cocktails for an evening aperitif.
Pink Lemonade Vs Lemonade – What’s the Difference?
They are both refreshing beverages made by combining lemon juice, simple syrup, and water. But why is pink lemonade pink? Its distinctive rose color comes from the addition of berries, including raspberries, strawberries, cranberry juice, or pomegranate/grenadine. Some even use watermelon or beet juice to achieve different hues.
The fruit is usually mashed up, then strained, and added to the lemon juice, where the colors mix. That’s why it becomes pink. Also, depending on what berries you use, the flavor of the pink drink will change. Some will complement the lemon, rather than overpower it – particularly raspberry or pomegranate – while strawberry or cranberry juice will give it a stronger berry taste.
And in case you wonder – although pink lemons do really exist, they’re not used to make this pink drink. Legend has it, a carnival vendor named Pete Conklin invented this drink when, by mistake, he brewed his own lemonade in a tub with pink water.
What Is Pink Lemonade Made from
This aesthetic lemonade has just four simple ingredients:
- Red Fruits: The star of the show! For this lemonade recipe, I used strawberries to create a distinctive red-pink color. You can use fresh – just make sure they’re ripe and very juicy – or you can use frozen, making sure to thaw them before using. If you don’t have strawberries, other red berries work just as well.
- Fresh lemons: Yes, it’s a bit of effort to juice your lemons, but the flavor is so much better than bottled lemon juice.
- Simple syrup: If you’ve never made simple syrup before, follow my easy How-To Guide here. Alternatively, use store-bought.
- Water: Use fresh drinking water. Or for a fresh pink lemon soda, use sparkling water.
Optional Add-Ins/Variations: For a grown-up fun twist, replace some of the water with a few splashes of vodka. Or, for a non-alcoholic version, use Sprite or soda water. Swap out your lemon for lime to get the perfect drink for you.
How to Make Pink Lemonade
Follow these easy steps to make your next favorite summer cooler.
Prepare Your Lemons
First, slice your lemons in half and juice them. For the most juice, use a citrus juicer. If you don’t have one, follow my guide for getting the most juice out of your lemons.
Make the Simple Syrup
If you don’t have simple syrup to hand, prepare it as per this method. Using a ratio of 1:1 water to sugar, heat together in a pan until the sugar dissolves.
Chef’s Tip: It’s best to do this in advance so the syrup can cool down or even chill – you can also store it in the fridge for a few weeks.
Muddle the Berries
In a small bowl or jar, muddle/mash the strawberries. If you prefer, pass the mashed strawberries through a sieve so you can strain the juice out. However, I like using the whole muddled mix.
Assemble the Lemonade
Finally, combine the lemon juice, simple syrup, strawberries, and cold water in a large jug and give it a good stir. Taste the lemonade and adjust any of the ingredients if needed – a bit more water or sugar syrup, etc.
Add plenty of ice – either in the glasses or in the jug. Add a few stalks of mint and some lemon slices to garnish. Enjoy your fresh strawberry lemonade!
Make It Ahead
This lemon drink can be made in advance as it’ll keep in the fridge for 4-5 days. Just make sure to stir before using.
You can also freeze some into an ice cube tray and use it to cool a future batch of lemonade for a hot summer day.
More Fun Summer Drinks
- Easy Fruit Punch
- The Best Traditional Lemonade
- Strawberry Milk
- Simple Magic Lemonade
- Cold Brew Coffee
If you try this easy recipe for pink lemonade, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
How to Make Pink Lemonade
- If you don't have simple syrup to hand, prepare it as per this method. Using a ratio of 1:1 water to sugar, heat together in a pan until the sugar dissolves.It's best to do this in advance so the syrup can cool down – you can also store it in the fridge for a few weeks.
- Juice the lemons. For the most juice, use a citrus juicer. If you don't have one, follow my guide for getting the most juice out of your lemons.
- In a small bowl or jar, muddle/mash the berries. If you prefer, pass the mashed fruit through a sieve so you can strain the juice out. However, I like using the whole muddled mix.
- Combine the lemon juice, simple syrup, strawberries, and water in a large jug and give it a good stir. Taste the lemonade and adjust any of the ingredients if needed – a bit more water or sugar syrup, etc.Serve with ice and a few stalks of mint and some lemon slices to garnish.
How To Store
- Leftover homemade lemonade will store in the refrigerator for 4-5 days when covered. Just give it a quick stir before using and away you go.
- Add ice to your glass, rather than in the pitcher. That way, you won’t dilute the entire batch.
- You could also make lemon juice/orange juice ice cubes to mix with normal ones.
- The type of lemon you use will also affect the tartness of the lemonade. Meyer lemons are sweeter and will require less additional sweetener.
- You can dilute this mix with fizzy water instead of still if preferred.
- Rose Extract – A simple (and delicious) way to elevate the flavor of this drink, especially if you are making raspberry lemonade.
- Feel free to experiment with combining the strawberries with other fruits.
- You can also add various herbs to the lemonade, for additional flavor. My favorites include fresh mint leaves, basil, or rosemary!
- For a simple adaption to a vodka berry lemonade – simply swap some of the water for vodka (even better if it’s citrus-infused!). An instant “berry cocktail” vodka lemonade is born!